Microsoft appears to be pushing Windows PC makers to ship Windows 11 devices with Solid State Drives (SSDs), according to a report from storage industry analyst Trendfocus.
The Windows 11 PC manufacturer can use platter-based hard drives or solid-state drives, as current requirements focus exclusively on storage space. According to the minimum system requirements for Windows 11, Windows 11 devices must have at least 64 gigabytes of storage.
One operating system feature, DirectStorage, requires an NVMe SSD, but this is an optional feature that simply wouldn’t be available on devices with regular hard drives or non-NVMe SSDs. DirectStorage promises to improve PC game loading performance.
On average, SSDs offer better performance than traditional HDDs. The user experience would improve on most devices, if traditional hard drives were replaced by SSDs. Not all SSDs offer the same level of performance, as budget SSDs often fail to take advantage of the technology.
Manufacturers, on the other hand, don’t seem to be too happy with it, and the main reason for that is the cost. Conventional hard drives are cheaper than SSDs: a 1TB hard drive starts at around $30 if you’re buying them to build a PC from scratch. Manufacturers can get them for even less. SSDs with 1TB of storage start at around $60, on the other hand.
Manufacturers could halve the storage capacity of the SSD or reduce it even more to bring down costs, but that would make the device less attractive.
The decision to push manufacturers to use SSDs in their devices mostly affects budget devices. Most PCs already use SSDs as their boot device, but SSD capacity is usually less than 256 GB. Some PCs use hybrid storage solutions, an SSD for the operating system and boot, and an SSD on tray for storage.
Replacing a platter-based boot disk with an SSD noticeably improves performance and boot operations. Microsoft hasn’t changed the requirements for its Windows 11 operating system, but it may do so in the coming year. It’s unclear whether the change would prevent PCs with regular hard drives from receiving future Windows 11 updates, but the application would certainly lead to disaster and confusion.
Even more manufacturers could move to a hybrid solution that adds a boot SSD with limited capacity and a larger platter-based drive to PCs. It’s a good compromise, but adds another component to the PC.
Now you: what storage devices do you use on your PCs?